Tuesday, 12 November 2013


The Reader is a movie released in 2009 by Stephen Daldry. Originally based on German writer Bernhard Schlink's novel (Der Vorleser), the movie is about a relationship between a woman and a younger boy.

The movie is actually divided in different parts.

          Neustadt, West Germany, 1958.
Mickael is getting back from school and his whitish face makes the member of the audience that this young boy is sick. Few minutes later, he just vomit on the floor before taking refuge in block of flats hall. Hanah rescues him and take him to her appartment, then she leads him to his house when his conservative family is waiting for him.
The doctor comes, Mickael must keep into his bed for three months because he's contagious. After his quarantine he brings flowers to Hanah, to thank her but she's distant... But in the end, they kiss each other and make love. The young boy can't wait to see her again and he goes very often to her home, she decides that before making love, he has to read her a part of the book he's studying.
They go on trip together, it's an idyllic relationship but Hanah gets a promotion and she leaves without telling him. He's totally upset and destroyed by his Passion.

This part deals with the power of Love. Indeed, we can see the genesis of love through the character of Mickael, he's totally in love with her, he's burning of Passion whereas she feels less passionated than him. She's older and more mature. We realise that love is not easy at all, Everything is not black or white but on the contrary, love is a mix of different shades.

          Heidelberg, Law School, 1966
Mickael is now studying law, he has forgotten, he has tried to...
With his class, he goes to a Court of Justice of 6 women accused to have sent to death hundred of women in concentration camp. Hanah is part of them, she joined the SS because they were looking for guards. Each guard had to choose 10 women each week, Hanah chose differently, she chose the weaks, the sicks and asked them to go to her room to read her books...
During the Trial, the 5 others convicted denounce Hanah and tell that she is the culprit because she's her who wrote the reports. The judge want to check it, he gives Hanah a piece of paper and a pen and request a handwriting sample to check. Hanah refuses to give it, she says it's true she's guilty. But in fact, Mickael understands that Hanah is illeterate that's why she asked him to read her book etc. She's sentenced to prison for life.

In this part the reference to Judicial Power is more than clearer thanks to the trial and jail. But this power is controversial because we can discuss the sentence. It's easy to sit in judgement on someone when you don't know the truth. The judge only based his judgement on one source, the one of the 5 others culprits. It's certainly an error among many in Justice. Moreover this court wouldn't have taken place if there wasn't Hitler's totalitarian government led by Nazism ideology which is another form of power.

          Neustadt, West Germany, 1976
Mickael is older now but he's still thinking of her. He decides to record his voice and send Hanah some tapes of him reading. On her own, she booked The lady with a little dog and starts learning how to read and write.

We can link this part to the power of language, the power of words. Thanks to this movie I got aware of how important to be literate is nowadays. It's natural for us to read and write everyday during class but for some people it's difficult and they feel ashamed of it. What's more, some bad persons abuse of their power and prey on these illeterate persons like the 5 women did with Hanah Schmitz. We can related this form of power to the power of honnor because even if she risks the prison for life, Hanah keeps quiet about her illeteracy instead of proclaimig her innocence. That's a deseperate act of courage.
I also realised that, nowadays, we are not aware how lucky we are to be able to communicate throught any support we want to. The fact of speaking, of singing is beautiful on his own but we can't see it if we are not "disabled"...

         West Berlin, 1988
Hanah will be revealed and Mickael is the only one she knows, he finds her a job and a place to live in but she hangs in prison.

         January 1995
Mickael brings her daughter where he went when he was younger with Hanah, she's buried there.

By bringing his daughter on Hanah's tomb, Mickeal perpetuate Hanah's Memory. Obviously, the power of Memory is important to not forget our past but also to consider the future in a better way!

1 comment:

  1. An interesting and intriguing choice, Yann.
    As I do not know this film at all, I'm looking forward to finding out more about it through your oral presentation.